For me, Elchfest (Elk-fight) was the surprise hit of Spiel '99; it's one of the Kosmos series of 2-player games, and I picked it up more for the front cover - a rather bewildered elk (bewildebeest?) - than from any knowledge of the game itself. To my surprise, it turned out to be a simple but clever dexterity game involving flicking tokens around, kind of a distant relative of Cariboulage (Haba) and Caribounde (Gold Sieber).

Each player gets one starting tile, one elk, and three stepping stones; all lovely wooden components, as you would expect from a German game. The starting tiles (representing opposite shores of a river) are placed about 50cm apart on a table… the larger the gap, the longer the game. The winner is the first player to get their elk to the opponent's side of the river, by careful use of the stepping stones.

Each turn, a player gets to flick two stepping stones. They may move their elk as many times as they like during their turn (both before and after each flick of a stepping stone). Each move of an elk results in an elk having its hind legs on one stepping stone, and its forelegs on a second stone, so accurate placement of the stones is vital to your success… if the gap between stones is too short or too long, then your elk doesn't get to move.

Amooseingly enough, we discovered that there is more to the game than meets the eye; once the game gets going, four of the six stepping stones are trapped under elk, leaving two stones free to move. If your elk ends its moves between your opponent and the free stones, then at least one of your opponent's flicks will be wasted. Another blocking option is to use your elk as a barricade, so your opponent has to move sideways around your elk instead of forwards.

The rules don't cover one situation; can you stand your moose on a stone which is already occupied by an opponent? We ruled yes, so long as you can do so without knocking the opponent off, adding a few extra tactical considerations.

One final observation about this fine game - it isn't deer, so you might like to track down two copies; with a little spray paint, you'll have an equally enjoyable game for up to 4 players.

Elchfest is designed by Hermann Huber and published by Kosmos; it should be available for around £10 per copy.